This book traces economic and political issues through SAARC’s thirty-year journey. Topical and well-researched, this collection provides a comprehensive assessment of SAARC and provides policy directives for the future. The book points out the issues and constraints that have hindered regional cooperation in South Asia. It establishes that despite being democracies, there has been little effort by member nations to promote regional cooperation in the public domain. It stresses that in view of the increased role that countries wish to play in globalisation, economic cooperation is the way forward. The book further argues that political will is the pivot on which the prospect of regional cooperation revolves.
Chapter 4: SAARC and Economic Cooperation
SAARC and Economic Cooperation
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was established in 1985 with the objective of accelerated economic growth and welfare of all people in the region. The regional association was to simultaneously promote cooperation with other developing countries, other regional organisations, and become a collective representation of South Asia at international forums. Provisions of SAARC included, inter alia, decisions based on the unanimity and exclusion of bilateral and contentious issues from the deliberations. Economic cooperation and integration became a part of the SAARC agenda seven years later when the council of ministers of the member countries signed an agreement to form the South Asian Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA). The agreement was prompted by the South Asian ...